Linux equivalents to popular Mac apps

Jack Wallen
Oct 15, 2009
Updated • Feb 22, 2014

In my most recent article ("Five tips to help ease the migration from Mac to Linux") I outlined ways to help end-users transfer from the Mac operating system to the Linux operating system. It was suggested to me that I should cover applications that could serve as replacements for popular Mac apps. Your wish is my command.

In this article I will outline a few of the possibilities that can be used to replace the beloved applications often used in Mac. In some cases their may be equivalents that are nearly identical. In some cases, however, there may be equivalents that miss some features, or even offer better features. Either way, after this article, you should feel much more comfortable about migrating from OS X to Linux.

In the previous article I already mentioned using Songbird as a replacement for iTunes. Personally I prefer Songbird to iTunes. The only downfall is that Songbird can not yet communicate to either the iPhone or the iTouch. Yet. There is another tool that is currently in development that will most likely change that. But for now - you can use Songbird as a replacement for iTunes - just don't expect Songbird to communicate with your iPhone/iTouch.

Garage Band

For those looking to compose music on your Linux machine, a good replacement for Garage Band is Jokosher. Jokosher is a simple, powerful multi-track recording studio. With this outstanding tool you can import music, record instruments, mix down, set tempos, and more. You will not, however, find a large collection of pre-recorded instruments and sounds to add and manipulate. But, if you have a Freesound account, you can import anything from their. Unlike Garage Band, Jokosher is really more a user-friendly multi-track recorder. So don't expect to just open up the application and start piecing together music without picking up an instrument.

For more information on other audio creating software take a look at In my humble opinion, if you are looking for mult-media creation, your best bet is to download Ubuntu Studio which will include so man pre-installed applications for media creation/editing.


This one should be obvious. If you're looking for an office suite to take care of all your office needs, look no further than OpenOffice. Although OpenOffice may have a different look and feel, you will find it just as easy to use AND it includes more features and applications than iWork.


If you like Apple's stand alone calendar (that also integrates with other applications) you can install the stand alone Sunbird calendar. Sunbird was created by Mozilla so it has a very Firefox/Thunderbird feel to it. Sunbird is very close to a feature-for-feature equivalent to iCal.


My wife uses a Mac and she HATES iPhoto. But it is the standard for Mac photo management. For Linux there is the F-spot photo management tool. F-spot not only manages your photo collections, but will work with your digital camera as an import tool. F-spot is actually easier to use than iPhoto and will not have you fighting to try to get a piece of software to do something you KNOW it should do, but won't.

Final thoughts

It's not an exhaustive list, but it will help you get by with the main applications one would use on a modern Mac computer.  If you have a Mac-based application you are looking for a Linux equivalent, let me know what that is and I will attempt to locate an equivalent for you.


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  1. Adrian Midgley said on November 3, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Scrivener is in beta for Linux. Still needs work.

  2. amin said on October 18, 2009 at 2:04 am

    how about imate? The most popular editor for Mac?

  3. Brad said on October 17, 2009 at 2:42 am


  4. Jack said on October 16, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    @audunmb: You can try WritersCafe2. It’s actually a really good application.

  5. audunmb said on October 16, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    What about Scrivener? That’s one edge that Mac has over every both Linux and Windows?

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